Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OCD: Don't Give Up Hope

Sometimes getting better isn't easy, but it's not impossible. Isn't that how most things are, somewhere right in the middle of easy and impossible? It's just that we've tried so hard for so long, managing OCD looks extremely difficult. We think, "If the road ahead is as bumpy as the road in the rearview, I'd rather pull over into a ditch." Here's a catalog of where I've been as proof that working to get better can take time. Don't be discouraged!

I've been through...

  • 6 Therapists. It has taken me this many to find one who specializes in OCD! I've told OCD stories to some good ones and one terrible one. (Thankfully I knew that right away, and only went to one session. More on him in another post, I promise!) 6 therapists in 11 years is a lot, but unless my current therapist retires or moves, I'm sticking with her.

  • 4 Anti-Anxiety Medications. Given that it's not safe to hop on and off anti-depressants, it can take a long time to find one that works for you when you consider the time it takes to wean yourself off of one. Now I've found one that works for me and I'm willing to tolerate the minor side effects.

  • 4 Severe Crises. I use the word crisis because that is the most effective word to describe the intense hold the OCD had on my life in these instances. I literally hit bottom. The first time lead me to learn that I had OCD at age 13. Then came going to college. Then came another crisis during college. The death of my grandfather was my most recent breakdown, which resulted in desperate visits to the doctor's/emergency room, panic attacks, loss of 10 pounds in one week, intolerance to food, 4-5 days of nights without even a few minutes of sleep, and 4 missed days of work.

The crises aside, even when I'm doing well, having OCD would make a great full-time job. But though it might not seem like it pays, consider that the work we do in getting better has lifelong implications. So no matter how many therapists you go through, no matter how many meds you've tried, no matter how many times you've hit bottom, there's still plenty of time to wake up tomorrow and keep trying.


  1. What an inspiring post. My obsessions have made my life very difficult at times ... literally paralyzing me during the worst episodes. Thanks for such an uplifting message.

  2. Aw, well thank you, Anonymous! I know what you mean about the obsessions being paralyzing. At the worst times I feel a heat at the base of my's like I can feel the adrenaline or whatever bad chemical seeping out of my pituitary gland into my bloodstream. It's bad. But I hope the examples of where I've been can be an inspiration for you and others! Have a good evening.

  3. I can't even count the number of therapists, psychologists, specialists I've been to. I don't seem to have the ability to stay with one very long.

    Also, I have tried so many meds I feel like the phantom gourmet, except instead of food I test meds.

    We have a few things in common. The sleep problem is one of them. Although I did get about 4 hours last night, sometimes I'll go days without sleeping for some unknown reason.

    It sucks, doesn't it?

  4. very well said!!! You are an insperation.

  5. An inspiring post for ALL anxiety sufferers!

  6. Thank you for your comment on my blog. In order to correct my muscular structure imbalance, I've been advised to see a physical therapist. However, I can't really afford to see a physical therapist on a regular basis so I was told the next best thing would be to take a postural yoga class.